锘? A decade ago few considered Poland as a place to spend their holidays. In 1999 it was voted 'Most Popular Cultural Destination' by readers of the Sunday Times but this did not lead to any major influx. In reality tourism actually dropped after Poland joined the EU in 2004 although most of this was to do with visiting Germans who had previously crossed the border in search of goods that could be bought VAT free.
By 2006 the country had bounced back becoming Europe's 7th most popular tourist destination and attracting one million more leisure visitors than Greece. The number could be much higher but the infrastructure is not yet in place to allow it.
Specifically the country is woefully short of hotels. Poland has 35 hotel rooms per ten thousand inhabitants. It's a strange yard stick but one used when comparing countries for research purposes. Using the same measure the Czech Republic has 221 hotel rooms Thomas Vermaelen Camisetas , six times more than it's northern neighbour and providing a clear indication of how much Poland needs to do if it's tourism sector is to grow.
But change is afoot with companies such as the Orbis group planning forty-five new establishments. By 2012 it is estimated there will be a further 560 new hotels across the nation providing welcome relief to a long standing bottleneck.
As an investor the question has to be, where should you buy in order to get in on the action and take advantage of this predicted growth?
Magazines have often pointed to Gdansk and Zakopane as the tourist hotspots that foreign buyers should focus on. There is some truth in this. Both have well developed networks of English speaking developers and estate agents which makes buying and letting straight forward.
The local government in Gdansk has stated it wants to redevelop sixty percent of the city and changes in infrastructure will bring capital gain. 580 kilometres away in Zakopane authorities have moved the other direction placing a freeze on all new planning applications. Rising demand and limited supply are good news for property values.
But trailblazers don't follow the crowd. The easier it is to buy, the more foreign investors will own a property in your neighbourhood. So where do they look? Where are the Gdansk and Zakopane of the future?
With so much of Poland suitable for tourism the choices are wide and varied but perhaps two places stand out - Roztocze and Chelmno.
Roztocze in Lubelskie is an area of outstanding natural beauty and a protected national park. This swathe of forest, lakes Adriano Camisetas , and meadow land includes medieval towns, cities and a spa resort, all of which already draw domestic tourists in large numbers.
In the future there will be an international airport two hours drive to the North and there is already one an hour away at Rzeszow in the South.
Some have speculated that in 2012, as football fans travel back and fourth between the Ukraine and Poland Sergi Roberto Camisetas , Roztocze will suddenly be discovered and catapulted into the top European destination list for tourists.
At the moment it has a fairly disjointed infrastructure with horse riding, canoeing, cycling and a wealth of other activities on offer but only if you know where to look for them and can speak a little Polish. The area is also woefully short of hotels and tourist accommodation, which is good news for those thinking of investing in these fields.
Roztocze is a maybe Jordi Alba Camisetas , but it is a maybe with all the building blocks in place to make it more probable than not.
Chelmno is definitely an off the beaten track choice. This small, walled medieval town sits on a hill overlooking a vast Northerly plateau in Kujawsko-Pomorskie. Its period buildings are faded with paint flaking from the window frames and all around there is an air of glory days now past. But this town has all the hallmarks of a future hotspot and if one day you would like to look down from your balcony onto a street with tourists who "wished they had bought when it was really cheap" make tracks for this provincial gem waiting to be dusted off.
Poland's ability to charm, entertain and stun the leisure visitor is well known to those who have been but the tourist numbers of today are expected to grow substantially as word spreads. There is however a cautionary note. Investors who stray from the well known resorts should remember they will be dealing with an undeveloped infrastructure and a language barrier but this is exactly what those who bought in Gdansk and Zakopane had to contend with a decade ago and this is exactly why they made the most substantial profits out of property. For more info click on http:www.NativePoland Author's Resource Box
Tim is Mamdoms Operations Director managing a team of consultants who help foreign buyers identify and purchase suitable Poland property opportunities for investment, development and relocation. As well as speaking regularly at seminars on the Polish real estate market his comments are often quoted in the domestic and international press. For More Information: http:www.NativePoland Email: nativepoland@bookshaker
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